A New Behavior Recorded On Sri Lankan Drongo


Wild  rescue team of Sri Lanka recently published a paper on “Forktail” a reputed Asian ornithology journal. The paper is about a unique behavior of endemic Sri Lanka Drongo.  

The Sri Lanka Drongo which inhabits the island’s rainforests show a unique adaptation during nest building. They eliminate the canopy contacts between their host (nesting) tree and adjacent trees by breaking off and destroying the foliage that come into contact. This eliminates pathways for predators like macaques, snakes and mainly nocturnal predators to approach the nesting tree. They also makes a barrier in the main trunk of the host tree by removing the loose bark and epiphytes and making the main trunk smooth. This makes it difficult for the predators, specially snakes to climb from below.

Through this behaviour they intentionally alter the host trees and immediate surrounding habitat and use these host trees annually for nesting. While most birds chose a safe site and built a nest there, the Drongos have moved a step forward by altering the habitat to make it safe for nesting.

This is a unique behaviour among birds and a testament for the superior intelligence of these small creatures. Only a few examples exist in the animal world for such complex behavior, where an animal changes its environment intentionally. Behavior of Beavers is such an example. They build dams to raise the water level and submerge their dens for protection against predators, a behavior Comparable to the Drongo.